General business events vary in type and purpose but when it comes to business networking events, there are specific ones that are designed with introductions and interactions in mind. Usually, when one envisions a business networking event, a room full of business people shaking hands and exchanging cards is what comes to mind.
Professionals connecting in this way, demonstrates the blatant general purpose. However, there are networking events in which the above occurs but there is much additional activity involved. The additional activity adds to the ambience and gives more value to the overall networking experience of the attendees.
As I stated above, general business events vary greatly in different types and purposes. Business networking specific events are in a category all their own. Below are some examples:
Business Card Exchanges
Business card exchanges are, of course, the most common to come to mind when one considers professional networking. These are events that are set in numerous locations like a company’s office, a hotel meeting room, offices of a Chamber of Commerce, etc.. During these meetings, there is usually a room full of business people, either in one or various industries, shaking hands in introducing themselves to one another.
Networking Happy Hours
These events typically mirror the above but with a dimmer, more social-like atmosphere as the setting. They are usually held in a sophisticated bar or pub at a time where drink specials are readily available. These are a bit more relaxed and due to the mellow backdrop and alcoholic drinks, many find it easier to break the ice and start conversations.
Breakfast Meetings and Luncheons
The format of these events is slightly different than the above. There may be a half an hour segment in which the professionals will be able to mingle and exchange business cards. This usually happens before everyone sits down to eat and is exposed to a brief presentation from the sponsoring company.
Guests will usually have the opportunity to stand and introduce themselves to everyone. Additional networking is encouraged after the presentation is over.
These events are very unique and mirror Speed Dating events. A group of 20 professionals or more are seated at tables, usually in a restaurant, facing one another. They are given approximately 2 or more minutes to introduce themselves and their business to each other.
Afterward, an alert is given and they must switch to the next table and repeat the process with the next individual. This continues until everyone present has met each other.